|By: Dr. John Ankerberg; ©1996|
|Bible Prophecy Questions Answered by Leading Christian Scholars.|
Dr. Renald Showers: We talk about a seven-year period of time between the Rapture of the Church from the world and the glorious Second Coming of Christ immediately after the Great Tribulation. What’s the basis for this idea of this seven-year period of time between those two events? The foundational passage for that seven-year period of time is in the Old Testament, specifically in Daniel 9:27. Just to give a little background so we understand, when you begin with verse 24 of Daniel 9, Daniel is receiving some incredible revelation from God through the Angel Gabriel. And in that revelation God was mapping out ahead of time His long-range extended program for Israel in the future. He says in verse 24 that "seventy weeks," literally "seventy sevens are determined for your people." Daniel’s people. That would be Israel. "And for your holy city." That would be the city of Jerusalem. What he’s saying here is this: that God had determined seventy periods of time for Israel in the future, but each one of those seventy periods of time would consist of seven years. That’s the idea of seventy sevens.
Why seven-year periods? Well, when you go through the Old Testament you find that God had set up a unique calendar system for Israel that was based upon seven-year cycles. For six years they were to till the ground and grow their crops, but then every seventh year was to be a sabbatic year in which they would allow the land to rest and restore its energy and then for six more years they would till the ground and then the next seventh year would be a sabbatic year and they would let it rest.
So God had designed Israel’s calendar system in seven-year cycles and that’s what He’s doing in this prophecy. Seventy cycles of time, each one of those cycles consists of seven-years. So seventy times seven, 490 years involved all together. When you read that prophecy from verse 24 up through verse 26, we find that the first 69 of those cycles were fulfilled when Jesus presented Himself to Israel officially as its Prince, its coming King, and the New Testament would indicate that Jesus did that when He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
Then when you examine that prophecy in depth you find that there is a gap of time between the end of the 69th cycle of seven-years and the beginning of the 70th or last cycle of seven-years. And you and I right now are living in that gap of time. That tells us, therefore, that the last cycle of seven-years has not yet begun. We could call that the 70th week, or the 70th seven, and that last cycle of seven-years is what many Bible scholars have come to call the Tribulation period because there will be forms of tribulation here in the world throughout that seven years.